I didn’t have many thoughts about the Patriots preseason game #2, other than Brady was great and looked like he had a connection with Amendola and that Tebow was atrocious. Nothing else too high or low, so I didn’t write about it. Just another practice really. Last night? Pretty bad, but you know what? Not as bad as you may think. The turnovers were troubling (including here the dropped 3rd down pass by Thompkins). The offensive line was questionable…at best. OK, they were awful, but at least take some solace that the Lions’ have a pretty good defensive front. But the first team defense actually played pretty well, especially considering the positions they were often left in. The only real negative was the screen pass to Bush that got out of hand. Of course, the Lions did not have Calvin Johnson, so take everything with a grain of salt if you wish. But in reality, it was the backup defense that was torched by the Lions’ reserves. That is a concern to a degree, but hopefully not a lot of those guys will be playing much anyway.
Don’t have much else to add about the game itself, but here’s who I think will make the 53-man roster. Hey, everyone else is doing it, why can’t I? Now, it is obvious that I don’t go to every practice, watch film endlessly, know the specific upside of every young player, have any idea how bad the injuries are, etc. I can only go on what I have seen in the games on TV (and one live Patriots practice I attended!), what I have seen reported and my general feelings on giving up on certain guys…recent high draft picks, for instance. Also, it would not surprise me if they cut down to 50 or so and claimed a bunch of other guys on waivers once the cuts come in. Defensive Tackle and Offensive Line seem to be really thin with the guys they do have, so there are probably better guys out there to replace the ones at the end of the roster now. Unusual for it to be that way in recent years for the Pats, but it sure feels like the case now. But what do I know? There could be a minor trade or two near the final cutdown day too.
Anyway, here it is, by position of course. An “L” designates who I feel is a lock. They are in order of how I think the depth chart shakes out. Some explanations below each group. As an added bonus, I’ll throw guys out there I think they will try to get on the practice squad (recognizing they may get claimed by other teams of course) and who I think will start out on the other various “lists” (NFI, IR, PUP). Just for reading, yours too FREE of charge, I will also add the 9 guys I think they toss when they cut from 84 to 75 next week. Just cuz I want to. And I wanted to feel like an infomercial for a split second.
*I’m sorry, I still think Tebow makes the team. I suppose they could cut him and have him keep a playbook (you know he is trustworthy, right?!) and re-sign him if needed, since no one else will pick him up. I know he doesn’t exactly fit the offense. I know the Pats carry only 2 QB’s a great deal of the time. But McDaniels saw something to make him trade a bunch of picks a few years ago to move up and take him in the first round, and he is a good defensive mind. And Bill will take a guy only if he will help him win games, and Tebow seems to win games when he is involved. I would never put him in for a healthy Brady…ever. But something tells me he contributes in some way this year. What I would do though is have someone drill him in practice and put him on IR for the year…redshirt him. But that’s me.
*I think they keep 5 to start, without a fullback, even though they historically usually keep 4. Vereen hasn’t exactly been injury-free in his career, so that, in part, keeps Washington around. Leon hasn’t impressed me on returns this preseason. And he makes a few bucks. So, he could be the odd man out at some point. Especially since they have guys that can return kicks, including apparently Blount, who has been there the last 2 games. Plus if they want to keep some more kids around, Leon’s spot could be expendable. Blount has some skills and Bolden plays on a lot of special teams units, so I think they are actually close to locks. I’m not buying the James Develin Experience yet.
*About as airtight as you can get here. None of the guys below them in camp are anywhere near enough to make a push on any of these guys. There’s been talk about cutting Edelman, but I don’t see it. He plays special teams, returns kicks, plays D (ok, hopefully not), is insurance for Amendola likely getting hurt again (hopefully these two aren’t both hurt on the same weeks…you know it’s possible), is cheap, knows the offense, etc. I think he is not back to full speed from his foot injury as of yet, and that is why I think he has not shown much this preseason. But he is a valuable piece of this team overall. Slater is listed at WR by default, as everyone knows. I don’t want him taking any snaps at receiver. He can’t catch. Hopefully Boyce takes his place on those bombs Brady has sparingly thrown recently. But don’t be surprised if Boyce is a regular game day inactive…especially if he doesn’t play much special teams.
*Probably one lighter than they’d like here. But I don’t see Fells making it. Makes good dough, apparently he is hurt and never really adapted…or something. They could keep him. Or Develin. Or both of them in place of Hoo-man…primarily for blocking. Because other than Ballard, the 2 others listed above may not block much. There could be some activity here at the end of camp, with bodies shuffling around. They may actually keep Gronk too, if they feel he can play before Week 7. I’d be a little surprised if they did. And personally, I’d give him more time to recover and help them at the end of the season, instead of missing the end, as he has the past 2 years. But I have no idea where his rehab stands of course.
- Mankins (LG)–L
- Solder (LT)–L
- Vollmer (RT)–L
- Wendell (C)–L
- Connolly (RG)–L
- Cannon (G/T)–L
- Svitek (T/G)–L
- Zusevics (T)
*Zusevics kind of makes it by default here due to needing a body. The Pats seemed to be high on him last year. Connolly and Cannon have been banged up, and who knows if one of those 2 don’t end up on IR at some point…though Connolly apparently played a bit last night. None of the other dudes on the line (Patterson, Chris McDonald, Schwab, Stankiewich, Kline), seems to have generated any press, so I’m ruling them out, pretty much solely on that. Cannon was supposed to push Connolly, due to being younger and cheaper, but he hasn’t been on the field. And I don’t see Svitek playing G full-time, so Connolly keeps his starting spot. Not to mention he would be the backup center too. Watch for some late preseason activity here too. Don’t be surprised if Nick McDonald resurfaces at some point as well. They cut him because he failed his physical. But to my knowledge, he hasn’t signed with anyone else. He may just need more time to get healthy. He was a fairly reliable backup. Then again, Dante is amazing and seems to turn anyone into a reliable backup. Maybe some of the 5 dudes above fits the bill.
Longer than I expected…let’s finish this up in another post…
Posted on August 23, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged American football positions, Brady, Calvin Johnson, Connolly, Markus Zusevics, Nick McDonald, Tim Tebow, Tom Brady. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.